Cleanup event can be our ‘beanstalk’

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, April 25, 2009

Although the seed analogy may have been overused, it couldn’t be more fitting when it comes to talking about the county-wide cleanup.

Growing out of a decade worth of Ironton Volunteer Days and the efforts of Operation TLC to clean up the county, every citizen should be proud that this event is set to truly sprout next Saturday.

More than 30 groups and 750 individuals have committed to this project that will truly live up to its name and touch on just about every part of Lawrence County.

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Having participated in several cleanup events over the years, and covered several more for the newspaper, it was often disappointing to see poor attendance and a lack of support.

But in recent years it truly seems that community pride has grown, and it has grown from the seeds planted by organizations like the Friends of Ironton, Ironton in Bloom, Operation TLC, The Boy Scouts of America and many others.

And although the support organizers are expecting for the cleanup seems to be a tremendous start, this is really just the tip of the iceberg.

The county-wide cleanup isn’t about one group or one organization. It is about taking pride in where we live and trying to make it a better place for everyone.

In fact, I challenge every citizen of Lawrence County — from Hanging Rock to Miller and all the way to Blackfork — to do something Saturday to beautify your property or your neighborhood.

It might be as simple as cutting the grass, trimming the hedges or planting some flowers. It might be on a larger scale and include organizing some sort of neighborhood cleanup.

And I’ll even take that a step farther.

I challenge every elected official to participate in this event and lead by example.

I hope to see our county commissioners, our city and village councilmen and women and all government employees.

After all, these communities support these men and women so it only seems right that these people return the favor and give something back.

Having a 15-month-old daughter has given me the pleasure of reacquainting myself with many of the nursery tales and children’s stories that I hadn’t read in years.

In many ways, this event can be our “beanstalk” and we all have a chance to be “Jack.”

Those who have participated in this event over the years planted the seed that is now growing far better than I think anyone imagined.

And if we follow this path — climb the “beanstalk” if you will — it can take us to a magical place. And while it may not be inhabited by giants, it can help make our community even more special.

The key is that we must not be afraid to start climbing.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at